It’s date night for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders tonight at Alex’s. Southern Oregon Pride will host its first “Live Out Loud” dance party — with live music by The Rogue Suspects — at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at the Ashland club, 35 N. Main St. Cover is $5.

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It’s date night for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders tonight at Alex’s. Southern Oregon Pride will host its first “Live Out Loud” dance party — with live music by The Rogue Suspects — at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at the Ashland club, 35 N. Main St. Cover is $5.
“Everyone is welcome,” says Gina DuQuenne, president of Southern Oregon Pride. “Gay, straight, twisted and in-between. What’s wonderful is that the dance party will become a regular event at Alex’s, held the last Thursday of every month. It will create a gay environment where queers can find a sense of security, safety and community and really be themselves.”
It’s DuQuenne’s plan to offer themed “Queer Night” events, such as drag shows and appearances by such entertainers as The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — a male comedy troupe whose members dress as nuns and perform skits — and her hope is to draw more queers from Northern California and Central Oregon.
Tonight’s attraction is The Rogue Suspects, with guitarist Dirk Price, bassist Greg Frederick, drummer David Bolen, keyboard player Don Harriss and vocalist Shae Johnson.
“There will be lots of dance music,” Frederick says. “And tunes from ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and Broadway musicals.”
“Everyone in the queer community loves The Rogue Suspects,” DuQuenne says. “They will be a big draw for our first show, but expect fabulous things to happen as our annual Pride Festival nears.
DuQuenne founded Southern Oregon Pride in 2010.
“I had an idea that came to me through my passion for equality,” she says.
DuQuenne thought it would be a good idea to organize a small, queer celebration in Ashland.
“That small celebration turned into something bigger than I ever imagined it would be,” she says. “The number of people who became excited about it was overwhelming.”
So, by popular demand, DuQuenne and a handful of other volunteers put together a committee, applied for nonprofit status and made the Southern Oregon Pride Festival happen in 2011.
“It was a huge success,” she says. “Not just for Southern Oregon Pride, but also for the community. About 2,500 people attended the weekend event last year. Local businesses, restaurants and clubs approached me and told me how well they fared during the festivities.
“So we’re on again for October 2012 and every year after that,” DuQuenne says.
See www.sopride.org for more about the organization. Email gina.duquenne@gmail.com to ask about volunteer opportunities.